Today: April 11, 2024

Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Sec Cinema, The

French cinema is a bit of an anomaly. It has a reputation for being progressive and daring, a hangover from the days of nouvelle vague. It also has a reputation of making incomprehensible films that contain sex, or dour movies filled with misery.

A comedy adventure film from the haphazard mind of
Luc Besson, which is always a raucous delight.

Luc Besson is a filmmaker who can never be second-guessed. One
minute he can be making stylish thrillers that inspire the next generation of
directors, like Nikita (1990), the
next he can be producing main stream tripe involving a bare-chested Jason Statham running around killing
immigrant clichés in the Transporter films. However, he is always a director
who tells stories that interest him and as such you feel his energy and passion
in every frame on display. Adele Blanc Sec is no exception and is a film that
feels both fresh and immediately reminiscent of Besson’s other works.

When her sister
is badly hurt in a freak tennis playing incident the writer and adventurer
Adele Blanc-Sec (Bourgoin) will sets
out on a quest to find an ancient Mummy doctor to resurrect her. Along the way
though she encounters ruthless tomb raiders, a pterodactyl terrorising Paris
and all manner of political barriers she must overcome if she is to save her
sister.

The most
startling thing about Adele is the striking similarities to the other great contemporary
French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
It has the quaint charm and fairy tale quirk of Jeunet’s Amelie (2001) and the
inventiveness of Micmacs (2009). However, Besson is a chameleon and before long
you are reminded of The Fifth Element (1997). Once again Besson has created a
world very much our own with a distinctly comic book spin on it. Every scene is
a visual treat with a vibrant tapestry of distinctly comic delight.

Adele Blanc-Sec
was originally a French, Belgium comic strip and its tone is certainly in
keeping with the likes of Tintin and Asterix. Everything is played with a sense
of charm rather than real peril. Most, if not all, of the characters are
intentionally cartoonish and all the more appealing as a result. Like The Fifth
Element the plot jumps around without much coherence but it is the people and
light-hearted tone of the world that captures the imagination. Indeed the sense
of humour on offer is one that paints a broad smile rather than a bawdy laugh,
as if a Wes Anderson turned his hand to period adventure films.

Besson has a
habit of plucking his leading actresses from relative obscurity and turning
them into bona fide stars. Natalie Portman and Milla Jovovich are two stars who
owe a debt of thanks to Besson’s casting. Here he introduces us to the captivating
Louise Bourgoin in the title role of Adele Blanc-Sec. She brings a wonderful
strength and resolve to Adele while being the only level head among more over
the top characters. Indeed she carries the film with a level of panache and
charm that makes for a hugely engrossing screen presence. More than anything it
is her put upon reactions to even the more outlandish of situations that brings
much of the fun to the film.

The Extraordinary
Adventures Of Adele Blanc-Sec is a film that, while often eccentric, is a
comedic romp to dazzle and delight. Based on this outing we could be in store
for a more than welcome and original franchise. Extraordinary indeed.



To Pre-Order The Extrodinary Adventures Of Adele Blanc-Sec On DVD Click Here Or On Blu-Ray Click Here

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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